- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Procter & Gamble’s Gillette brand responded to backlash Monday by defending a new ad that features a transgender man’s first shave.

The ad shows trans activist Samson Bonkeabantu Brown being taught how to shave by his real-life father, who tells his son in the ad, “Don’t be scared. Shaving is about being confident.”

“I’m at the point in my manhood where I’m actually happy,” Mr. Brown says in the ad. “It’s not just myself transitioning, it’s everybody around me transitioning.”

The ad concludes with text that reads, “Whenever, wherever, however, it happens, your first shave is special,” and the company’s tagline, “The best a man can get.”

The spot released last week reignited a boycott against Gillette that began in January after the company responded to the #MeToo movement with an ad combating toxic masculinity and bullying. The ad signaled the launch of the company’s “the best men can be” social responsibility campaign, which promises to donate $1 million per year for the next three years to nonprofit organizations designed to “inspire, educate and help men of all ages achieve their personal ‘best’ and become role models for the next generation.”

Many social conservatives called the campaign anti-men, but Procter & Gamble CEO David Taylor stood firm at the time, declaring, “There is an issue with toxic masculinity.”

On Tuesday, Gillette issued a statement defending its newest ad, saying it’s important to be inclusive in its portrayal of masculinity.

“We anticipated there would be some negative response to this video, however, we’re thrilled with the overwhelmingly positive responses we’ve seen, from both consumers as well as organizations,” the statement said, People magazine reported. “As a brand committed to helping men look, feel and act their best, it’s important to us to embrace inclusivity in how we portray masculinity. This is especially true for Samson and others in the trans community, which is why we created ‘First Shave.’ “

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